Posted by Kathryn Battrum on Jun 03, 2021
Our guest speaker this week was Vineetha Nakka, Education Program Coordinator, Centre of Epilepsy & Seizure Education.  The Center is committed to improving the lives of people who live with epilepsy, which is the fourth most common neurological disorder and affects people of all ages.
Epilepsy is a condition of the nervous system characterized by repeated seizures that have no immediate cause.  During a seizure, brain cells lose their ability to function as a network and start sending their signals all at once.
Epileptic Seizures happen at any age.  50% are diagnosed in infancy and childhood.  By age 70, the incidence in adults is twice that of children.  1 in 10 people will have experience a seizure in their lifetime.
There are 2 types of seizure:
  • Focal seizures are characterized by local muscle movement, sensory disturbances, emotional changes, and autonomic changes.  The seizure may become secondarily generalized, and the person remains conscious. With focal dyscognitive seizures, there may be impairment of consciousness, blank stare, repetitive movement, confusion afterwards, no memory of seizure and no convulsions.
  • Generalized seizures are more broadly based and may start with sudden cry and fall. In the tonic phase, muscles stiffen. In the clonic phase, seizure sufferers experience a jerking of muscles and loss of control.
Generalized seizures occur most often in children, with staring, blinking, eyelid flutter, and/or eye rolling.  They can last for 2-10 seconds, followed by immediate return to full awareness.  Children may have over 100 of these per day if uncontrolled with medication.
The causes of epileptic seizures are unknown in about 50% of cases, but may include injury, illness/infection; drug abuse, or stroke as contributing factors in the balance of them.
Triggers for seizures could be missed doses of medications, lack of sleep, stress (good or bad), fever, illness and pain or drugs/alcohol but not all seizures have triggers.
Sometimes epileptics perceive an ‘aura’, which is an unusual sensation that alerts the individual that a seizure is coming.  It could be an unusual taste or smell, a tingling feeling, a funny feeling in the stomach, a visual sensation, an emotional reaction, or psychic sensation.
First aid for seizures is generally to remain calm, speak in reassuring tones, gently guide the person away from danger like busy streets or stairs, stay with the person until the seizure is over and assist them with getting home.  Afterwards, reassure them, provide rest, and do not provide food or fluids until the person is calm.
Recovery time after a seizure can vary and confusion may follow with fatigue, unsteadiness or weakness, headaches, or slurred speech. If a seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes or the person has an immediate 2nd seizure call 911.  Also call 911 if it is a first seizure and the person does not regain consciousness, or confusion lasts more than an hour afterwards, or the seizure occurs in water, or the person is pregnant, has diabetes or injures themself.
Bits and Pieces
Save the Date:  Our year end celebration and ‘Pass the Gavel’ event to welcome President Kayla and your new Rotary Executive will be held on Friday June 25 at the Okanagan Centre Hall, commencing at 5:30 p.m. 
Details concerning food and beverage planning and a live entertainment program will be announced shortly by separate email.